Case Study 1: The Officer and the Drug Arrest

Case Study 1: The Officer and the Drug Arrest

CRJ 325

Identify the constitutional amendment that would govern Officer Jones’ actions. In your own opinion, discuss if you support his actions or not. Justify your answer using the appropriate case law and Supreme Court precedents.

Officer Jones’s actions would be govern by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment is in place to protect people from unreasonable search and seizures. The Fourth Amendment outlaws only unreasonable searches and seizures, logically allowing those deemed reasonable (Machado, 2015). It should be noted that this amendment is not a guarantee that a person’s property will not be searched and/or seized. In my opinion, Officer Jones had reasonable suspicion to suspect a crime had been taken placed. In this case, he had specific facts and circumstance that lead him to believe criminal activity was at play so he stopped the car. This reasonable suspicion further warranted an investigation was required. I support his decision to stop the car and the fact that he knew that further investigation was needed in this particular case. I do not agree with his actions to search the vehicle without obtaining a search warrant.

Analyze the validity and constitutionality of Officer Jones’ actions.

Some of Officer Jones’s actions were valid and constitutional. The fact that he did not just stop the citizen on a “hunch” initially justifies his actions of having reasonable suspicion to make the stop. His action of detaining the suspect were, also, valid and constitutional. I believe he may find himself in a battle defending his actions to search the vehicle because of information he received from an unknown source. There was no evidence in the description of the stop, arrest and search that signified he had probable cause to search the vehicle.

Determine whether or not Officer Jones’ actions were justified by any of the three (3) ways whereby probable cause can be established. Provide a rationale for your response.

When trying to identify when a person has probable cause to search a vehicle, there are three ways to determine this. (1) They have consent from the person in charge of the premises, (2) certain searched are connected with a lawful arrest, (3) an emergency situation arises and public safety is threatened and/or possible loss of evidence. In this case study, no information that noted an arrest and/or detainment was occurring. It did not say he had permission from the person, or that the search was the result of the arrest, or the fact that it had turned into an emergency situation. It simply went from a stop to searching the citizen and finding drugs. Even though, I believe Officer Jones’s intentions were good he may not have made the best constitutional decisions in regard to the citizens or himself in regards to this particular case. Let it also me known, “the Supreme Court recognized that police officers can have probable cause (sufficient to support a search without violating the Fourth Amendment) even if their suspicion is based on a mistake of fact, so long as the mistake was reasonable.” (Weinberger, 2017)


Machado, P. H. (2015). Fourth Amendment. Salem Press Encyclopedia.

Weinberger, L. (2017). Making Mistakes about the Law: Police Mistakes of Law between

Qualified Immunity and Lenity. University Of Chicago Law Review, 84(3), 1561-1601.

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